Fall 2019 Updates (hint: dogs, dogs, dogs!)

 

I love fall. It is, in my opinion, the most beautiful of all the seasons due to the incredible red, gold, and orange leaves filling the trees with a bright blue sky backdrop. Add to that the crisp air! The crunch of leaves underfoot! The start of school! Ah, it’s just a great season.

Plus, October is my husband’s birthday month, and our wedding anniversary month. And who doesn’t love Halloween to cap it off?

I’ve been busy getting ensconced with my new reading specialist job two days per week, and using the other days at home to write, take care of the house and pets, and do… all the other things required in life.

Here’s one fun article I had to chance to write recently for North Oaks Living Magazine. It highlights some of our great neighbor and their wonderful pets and nature projects!

 

I was also asked to write a blog post for the Minnesota Chapter of NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association), which my family joined after getting our first versatile dog, Sunny, last spring.

Check out the article, here. The dinner I write about, as well as the other NAVHDA activities I participate in, are an example of how we can open up our comfortable little worlds by trying new things and meeting new people.

Of course, Sunny, our now 8 month old pup, continues to inspire me, so I had to write an article for the Fall 2019 issue of Munster Tales, the seasonal newsletter for Small Munsterlander Club of America members and enthusiasts.

 

 

One other special pup I shone the spotlight on in a recent magazine article is Rosie, a rescue dog who now has a happy and posh life with her four totally pawsome hoomans.

 

 

I have a few other writing projects in the works; I can’t wait to share them with you once they hit the press!

In the meantime, I wish all of my wonderful readers the happiest of falls and happiest of Halloweens!

~Julia

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Art Imitates Life and so on and so forth

If you had told me when I was 25 that I’d be more excited to write an article for a hunting magazine than a fashion one, I would’ve guffawed [as my son would say; he loves that word].

Have you heard the theory about how every ten years or so we can expect our careers to take entirely new directions? For me, it rings true, and I couldn’t have predicted the exact path I would take.

10 years ago, I was teaching high school English full time to students with various learning disabilities. Over time, I’ll just say it– I became good at it. With experience, passion, and dedication comes success, right?

But then I had my son, my very first baby, followed soon after by my daughter, and in the chaos & enormity of new motherhood, I took time off from teaching to be a stay-at-home mother. {and yes, for the record, it is absolutely a full-time job to be home caring for babies and toddlers all day long. It is an unpaid job that stay-at-home parents are expected to be “grateful for” at all times… but you should probably go visit my other site, Frantic Mama, to dig into all that}.

Thankfully, I found time to write in the small pockets of time I could manage.

I had always loved writing, and by starting my blog, Frantic Mama, I found a niche in the parenting/humor world. Blogging was a fantastic outlet during those crazy long days (and nights). I developed my voice, honed my writing skills, learned about social media, and gained a loyal following. Frantic Mama was a gift to myself and hopefully to the many new mothers out there who could relate to the very real, very unglamorous side of parenting I wrote about.

I soon started pushing myself to publish my work outside of my own blog, and that was a great experience too– turns out, there was a demand for moms writing about the real side of parenting. Not the Martha Stewart sh*t!

Slowly, writing became a professional pursuit for me, and it has since turned into a career for me.

Side Note: People often ask “how do you become a writer?” and it’s a huge concept with a somewhat simple answer: You start. You work. You write. You submit. You get rejected and you get accepted. Repeat. Nothing magical happens overnight for 99% of us. So my answer to aspiring writers is always the same, and I have to tell you, so few like my answer because it’s not a shortcut, but here it is: Start a blog. Try not to think about who reads it. Develop your voice. Keep at it. 

Anyhoo… With the addition of my one-on-one tutoring over time (because I missed teaching and I knew I had the skills to help kids learn to read), I found myself working almost whenever I wasn’t taking care of my children.

How, you ask? Many think because my car is in the garage, I’m home doing, well, I don’t know. What do people do?

To have two part-time jobs and virtually zero child care except preschool and now (thankfully) school, I’ve worked 7 days a week. Not 12 hours in a row each day of course, but within almost every single day for the last few years, I’ve found time to write or tutor. Add in childcare, and well, I’m pretty much always working [laugh cry laugh cry].

Life is good that way, though. The harder I work, the richer life is. At least, for me it usually feels that way. I start to feel very unhappy if I’m not inspired to write.

This is what I begin to look like when I haven’t written anything for a few days:

debbie-downer
Yeah, that’d be Debbie Downer.

This year, I’ll be an in-house tutor at a small local school twice a week, so kinda sorta back in the classroom (are careers on a cyclical cycle for some of us?), and of course, a writer through and through the rest of the week, whenever I can have a peek at my trusty laptop. Does that mean fewer/less this or that? Yes! Of course it does. We must actively make room for our goals. Not everything gets 100% of us.

I’ll leave you with what I started with: a piece I wrote about stepping out of my comfort zone right along with my son, and our Sunny Girl pup. Yes, it’s a hunting magazine. And no, I don’t think there’s another place I’d rather see the piece than in this one.

 

September 2019, VHD (Versatile Hunting Dog) Magazine, published by NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association).

Read the whole article, here.

 

How the world turns! What will I be doing in another 10 years? What will you be doing? 

~Julia

April Updates (and a new book!)

Hello everyone!

I hope spring is in full swing in your neck of the woods. It snowed here (again) recently, and I have never been more ready for sunny, warm weather!

I wanted to share a couple of publications with you.

An article I wrote for Dressage Today Magazine, The Unstoppable Eloise King, is up and running on their website. The article is about a fascinating, lifelong equestrian and full of fantastic photos she and her comrades saved over the years. From show jumping at Madison Square Garden as a young teen, to dressing as a circus clown and doing pony tricks, to riding and training the highest levels of Classical Dressage, Eloise King is truly inspiring.

 

 

 

Now available is an anthology I contributed to, Will Work for Apples, published by New York Times bestselling author Jen Mann of “People I Want to Punch in the Throat” fame.

39 authors from around the world wrote essays celebrating the teachers in our lives– some of them (like me) have been teachers, and some of the stories are about influential teachers they have had or their children have had.

Find this special collection on Amazon!

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Thank you to all of my readers for your ongoing support.

 

And if you didn’t catch my article in the May 2019 issue of Horse Illustrated, it is on newsstands now!

~Julia

Spring 2019 Updates: Passions Galore

No one is quite as passionate about spring as Minnesotans. It hits 40 degrees and the kids are in shorts, people are frantically outside running and biking again, and finally, finally!, it stays light past 5 p.m.

I’m beyond happy things are warming up in my neck of the woods, and I’m also happy to share some exciting publications I’ve had the chance to be a part of recently.

You might notice an unplanned theme in this post and in my recent work: Passion. It’s woven into everything I write, but in the following pieces especially, it really stands out.

In the May 2019 issue of Horse Illustrated, you’ll find an essay I wrote about how pursuing our own passions and interests (for me, one of those is horses), enables us to be happier, better parents in the long run, even if that means we are away for a couple hours a week and (gasp) spending some money on ourselves and our hobbies.

 

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I also had the chance to interview and write about Michigan horse trainer Katie Mair for The Morgan Horse Magazine. Her passion for her career comes through as soon as you start talking with her. I wanted readers to feel her energy too, and I hope I accomplished that in the article.

 

Local Minnesota photographer, Michele Quattrin of mQn Photography has taken many cherished photos of my family (including the one of my family in the above Horse Illustrated article!) over the years, but she is also passionate about using her talents for good: despite her busy schedule, she somehow finds time to give back to some wonderful non-profits.

I had to chance to share her philanthropic efforts in a recent issue of North Oaks Living Magazine.

 

 

Last, be on the lookout in 1-2 weeks (early April 2019) for my newest anthology collaboration, Will Work for Apples! The book, published by New York Times bestselling author Jen Mann, features a collection of diverse essays about school, education, and teachers. One of my many passions (besides writing and animals!) is teaching and working with all kinds of students, and I’m honored to write about my own teaching philosophy for the book.

Will Work for Apples will be available in paperback and electronic versions from Amazon and other online retailers soon.

I’d love to hear what you are passionate about, what you are doing to carve out time to pursue that passion, and of course, what activities you are excited to enjoy in the warmer, sunnier months ahead.

~Julia

Horses, Veterans, & You Do You

One of the highlights of my summer was the chance to spend a weekend at Patricia and Andy Brown’s farm in Stilwell, Kansas. It wasn’t just a friendly visit (though it was indeed friendly). It was an opportunity for me to witness War Horses for Veterans for an article I was writing.

War Horses, founded by combat veteran-turned horse trainer Patrick Benson and horse breeder Andy Brown, is a non-profit organization serving combat veterans from around the country. They use horses as a bridge to help the visiting vets heal, connect, and feel supported.

I was fortunate enough to write about the program and its employees, volunteers, and visiting vets for the The Morgan Horse Magazine, October 2018 issue.

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I am obsessed with the October cover.

Purchase a single issue (October 2018) on the Morgan Horse website to read my article and learn more about this incredible program.

Supporting our veterans is not a partisan issue. Regardless of who you vote for, I believe we should always support those who have put themselves on the line– often leaving their families for many months at a time– all to keep us safe and to fulfill a commitment they bravely made.

On another note…

Next weekend I’ll make my first trip to Oklahoma City to for the championship weekend of the Grand National and World Champion Morgan Horse Show. I can’t wait!!!

Morgan Grand National Arena
Grand National Arena. Photo courtesy of Grand Nationals.

Stay tuned for the fascinating human (and horse) interest stories that I plan to capture while I’m there.

Finally, be sure to grab your copy of the 4th anthology I’m honored to be a part of: You Do You, an all-female, multi-generational collaboration focused on encouraging and empowering the girls in our lives, edited by New York Times Bestselling author, Jen Mann. Find it on Amazon, iTunes, Nook, and more.

You Do You
Yours truly is a contributing writer for “You Do You,” an all-female anthology, published 09/2018.

 

Keep reading, keep growing, keep taking risks!

~Julia

 

Book Release

 

Ta Da!

It’s Release Day for my newest project, an all-female collaborative effort!

The book is called You Do You, and it’s edited and published by New York Times bestselling author Jen Mann of “I Just Want to Pee Alone” and “People I want to Punch in the Throat” fame.

 

You Do You Cover

 

Here’s the big reveal: My essay is called… Be Your Own Damn Rock.

It’s all about taking ownership of our lives and our accomplishments, and standing on our own two feet. It’s a message I want to inspire in my daughter. I will support her in whatever endeavors she chooses, but she can most definitely achieve any of her goals using her own brain, effort, and determination. No one needs to do it for her, and she certainly doesn’t need to give someone else the credit.

So how can you support this effort? You can order a copy on Amazon or iTunes. You can choose it for your next book club pick. You can order some to give as gifts– think friends, sisters, neighbors. In doing so, you’ll be supporting all the wonderful ladies who poured their hearts into this uplifting, girl-powered book.

Order your copy today, from Amazon, iTunes, or Barnes & Noble.

In the meantime, You Do You— I mean it!

~Julia

Summertime Updates

Summer has officially arrived in Minnesota, and from the look of it, people can’t get enough. If anyone earns their summers, it’s us northern folks!

I’ve had a couple of recently published articles and some exciting announcements. Buckle up!

Last spring, I wrote about a Morgan horse breeding family, the Grundens of Grunden Ranch in Nebraska, for one of my favorite publications, The Morgan Horse magazine. I enjoyed learning about ranch life and about the breeding side of the horse industry!

 

Next, I had the opportunity to write about two mother-daughter equestrian duos who ride at Hardwood Creek Farm with me. This article appeared in the June issue of White Bear Lake magazine, a regional lifestyle publication.

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The black and white photo is by Lauren Mueller Photography, based here in Minnesota!

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And now for some exciting news about upcoming assignments!

My nonfiction motherhood-focused essay was accepted to be in the next installment of New York Times Bestselling author Jen Mann’s next anthology. This collection (due out September 2018) of female-written prose and poetry will be called You Do You, and the focus is on empowering our girls and each other. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Finally, one article I am thrilled to work will feature the incredible non-profit organization, War Horses for Veterans. The good people who started this program, Patrick Benson and Andy Brown, work hard every single day to give combat veterans not only an amazing weekend on a Morgan horse ranch, but also to provide these deserving men and women with an ongoing network and lifelong support system as they reintegrate into civilian life. Keep your eyes on a fall issue of The Morgan Horse for that one.

On top of my written work, my tutoring calendar is totally booked. I’m currently working on reading and writing skills with kids ages 9 up to 18! What a joyful challenge!

Thanks to all the readers who offer their continued support for my ongoing, ever-present quest to spread the joy and love of horses, animals, and kids (ha!) to anyone who wants to read about them!

~Julia